One of my purposes with this blog is to share some of the treasures from the enormous deposit of beautiful art and music, especially sacred art and music, that has been handed down to us. Take the delightful duet below, for instance, which was actually composed as a part of the Mass: it is the “Laudamus Te” passage from a “Gloria” composed by Antonio Vivaldi in 1715.
A 1723 portrait believed to be Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi was an extremely accomplished violinist.
Vivaldi himself is best known today for his violin concertos The Four Seasons. He’s an interesting character. He lived from 1678-1741, mostly in Venice. He was ordained a priest in 1703, but was dispensed from the obligation of saying mass a year later, apparently for health reasons. He was never fully secularized, but no longer served as a priest for the rest of his life. Indications are that he remained a devout, pious Catholic until he died.
When he was first ordained he served as a priest at the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for girls in Venice. After the suspension of his priestly responsibilities he stayed on as musical director until 1715, and returned in that capacity from 1723 -1740. Many of his musical compositions were written to be performed by the young women in the Ospedale (perhaps including the piece below). Under Vivaldi’s tutelage the Ospedale’s orchestra and choir became famous not only in Venice but throughout Europe.
Over his career, Vivaldi composed over 300 concertos, 46 operas, and numerous other musical works.
Laudamus Te, by Antonio Vivaldi
Bredow Thompson, Soprano
Amanda Hart Bassett, Soprano